Thursday, October 13, 2011

BLUE LIKE JAZZ | finally!

I stayed up late with several hundred of my closest friends at the National Youth Workers Convention in San Diego to watch a rough cut of Donald Miller + Steve Taylor's film, Blue Like Jazz.

In the spirit of full disclosure. Mr. Taylor and I have been friends for something on the order of 30 years. That said, we have an informal agreement not to kid each other. So, I can tell you what I told him: "It's really good; stop listening to other voices; finish it."

Of course, he's too polite to stop listening, but he sees things too clearly to make false compromises at this point.

Taylor directed Donald Miller's screenplay and I think it's funny, thoughtful, unpredictable and real — by which I mean two things. First, Blue Like Jazz will earn a PG-13 rating because freshman year at Reed College — the very same institution from which Steve Jobs dropped-out back in the day — was a PG-13 experience (give or take an R). So don't take your grandmother or your middle school Bible Study when this film is released next April and then pretend to be shocked — shocked! I tell youat the language and debauchery. It's not a movie for 12 year-olds. And I mean that in the best possible way.

The second thing I mean by real, is that the Blue Like Jazz movie is true to itself — real in the sense that it isn't trying to be anything but what it is. The storytellers are not attempting to pull a bait and switch. There is no cameo appearance by Billy Graham or a Billy Graham surrogate. This movie is not meant to close any deals or be the end-point of anyone's journey. It may be a mile-marker; maybe even a beginning for some views. I find a lot to like in that.

But don't take my word for it. Get yourself to Atlanta for the second National Youth Workers Convention, November 18-20, 2011, where you'll have a chance to stay up late and see how Blue Like Jazz is coming along. Maybe we can split a bag of popcorn.

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